Thursday, June 29, 2017

Which Side Are You On In The Struggle Against Corporate Government? #Aegis9

Three of the Aegis 9 (me, Mark Roman and Russell Wray) outside West Bath District Court yesterday.
Not pictured: Jessica Stewart, Natasha Mayers, Jason Rawn, Bob Dale, Bruce Gagnon and Mike Tork.

Yesterday's disposition hearing for the Aegis 9 was interesting. I am among the group arrested April 1, 2017 and charged with criminal trespass at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard. An Aegis "destroyer" battleship was being "christened" that day and the general public was invited inside. We were not.

At the hearing yesterday the prosecutor was a young man who had been assisting the prosecutor at the Zumwalt 12 trial earlier this year. One of the Zumwalt 12, Veterans for Peace member Dud Hendrick, recognized him and engaged him in conversation as we waited for the judge.

Bob Dale, Dud Hendrick and Bruce Gagnon outside the courtroom.

Asked if he had gone through with his plan to enlist, the young prosecutor told Dud that he had, indeed, transitioned to becoming an officer in JAG, the U.S. Army's legal department. He reported that he was satisfied with this decision as he used to have to salute a lot of people as an enlisted soldier but now people had to salute him. Also, the pay was much better.

I have often thought that perhaps the military and wars exist primarily so that men can feel more smart and powerful than they may in fact actually be. This exchange tended to confirm my suspicion.

Logan E. Perkins, Perkins Law Office,

On our side was attorney Logan Perkins of Belfast who specializes in criminal law and has a particular interest in defending those involved in nonviolent civil disobedience. She is representing me and two other Aegis 9 defendants, and advising the group as a whole (six will go pro se i.e. will represent themselves.)

Logan has just completed a transition of her own, from practicing in a firm to private practice. This gives her the freedom to become more involved in civil disobedience cases.

As a group we were impressed with her understanding of the matter and the process, and her strong representation of our rights at yesterday's disposition hearing. For instance, she engaged the judge around the issue of voire dire, the preliminary questioning of jurors. Most states allow attorneys to do this but in Maine the practice has been that only the judge may convey a defendant's or counsel's questions to jurors. As Logan rightly pointed out, there is no law preventing Maine from adjusting its practice in this regard.

Professional norms dictated that Logan and the prosecutor with the buzz cut who now gets saluted be cordial and respectful to one another, and indeed they were. But make no mistake -- there are two sides in this case, and I know which one I want to be on.

Aegis 9 defendant Natasha Mayers of ARRT! and supporter
Peter Woodruff, who retired from Bath Iron Works with work-related health issues.
A side note: two other attorneys who were waiting around for their dispo hearings chatted with Logan and ended up offering their pro bono services to any other members of the Aegis 9 who might opt for representation.

Zumwalt 12 members on hand yesterday either as members of or supporters of the Aegis 9.
Left to right: Jason Rawn, Dud Hendrick, Bruce Gagnon, John Peck, Joan Peck and Russell Wray.

Back at home my husband and I reflected on how grateful we are to be part of such a remarkable team. We spent hours on hard benches yesterday in the company of some of the most intelligent, compassionate and dedicated people we've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Our group is also being advised by seasoned attorneys Lynne Williams and Phil Worden who offer valuable perspective and insight on defending against charges arising from nonviolent civil disobedience. And we were supported in the courtroom yesterday by two additional members of the Zumwalt 12, Joan and John Peck.

The prosecutor offered all of the Aegis 9 a plea bargain. Mine would have been a $250 fine while the three of us who were also members of the Zumwalt 12 -- Bruce Gagnon, Jason Rawn, and Russell Wray -- were offered three days in jail. All of us declined these offers.

It looks as if we will find out at a docket call on August 29 whether our trial will be in September or November.

I'm confident that lots of supporters will join us for the actual trial in Sagadahoc County Court, which looks like it will take 2 or 3 days. Our trial by a jury of our peers will take place in downtown Bath within blocks of General Dynamics and its highly profitable weapons of mass destruction plant. 

Also this week four young people in Des Moines, Iowa were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience, cleverly constructing devices to block a military base where weaponized drones are operated to kill civilians overseas. Stay tuned.

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